Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan (born on 1974 in Faisalabad, Pakistan, the son of Farrukh Fateh Ali Khan, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's brother and accompanist and grandson of another legendary qawwali master, Fateh Ali Khan) is the scion of a family whose name has become synonymous with a South Asian musical tradition ten centuries old which has only in recent years captured the imagination of listeners in the West. He was chosen at birth by his uncle Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan for tutoring in the traditions of qawwali music and was preciously singing for and with his uncle and father by the age of three. His formal training with his uncle began at the age of seven & he performed very first time at the age of nine at the death anniversary of his grandfather. From age fifteen, after years of intimate study, he was made an integral part of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan's qawwali party which came to be known throughout the world.
Qawwali music (the word derives from the Arabic word "qual", which means "belief" or "credo") is the explosive devotional music of the sufis (Muslim mystics) of Pakistan and the Indian Subcontinent. It originated in the 10th century as a blend of Persian and Central Asian poetic, Philosophical and religious elements with North Indian musical expression.
In modern times, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan emerged as an imposing new figure in qawwali music, destined to carry the music to new audiences and for the first time, beyond the borders of lands of its origin. Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was one of the only great artists of Sufi music and an ambassador of peace. Six weeks after Nusrat's passing, Nusrat's family accorded the mantle of leadership of his group to Rahat in ceremonies in Faisalabad, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan took over Ustad Nusrat's legacy and is carrying over the spiritual massage to the world. He took the challenge after untimly death of Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and as his sucessor he carried out the traditional music of Hazrat Amir Khosroo. With his sufi music he has build a bridge between the East and the West, and never disappointed million of followers of the sufi music around the world. In March 1998, Rahat for the first time appeared himself with Eddie Vedder in the dead man walking benefit concert in shrine auditorium in Los Angeles. He was greatly appreciated by the audiences and the media and this was just the beginning of his Hollywood career, which from here went to Bollywood.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has also performed at the Slamdance Film Festival to a completely captivated and mesmerized crowd. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan, whose distinctive, high pitched voice can be thrilling in its mystical, leaps of passion and at other times soothing in the sustained warmth of its classical progressions, effortlessly embraces the elevating aesthetic of qawwali tradition. Rahat carries a message of love, peace and spiritualism.. Rahat Fateh Ali Khan & Party debuted in America in the summer of 2000 with two high-profile performances in the major media centers, New York, at central Park Summer stage, and Los Angeles, The Hollywood Bowl, to fine critical acclaim. His Fans in New York are eagerly awaiting his performances because it will be Mast Qalandar!in Bollywood Awards. He started his world tour and was soon performing in all around United States, Canada and Europe which included performances at FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL DES CULTURES-PIRINEOS SUR in Spain, SFINKS FESTIVAL in Belgium. 2001 started from Tibet House benefit concert in NY at Carnegie Hall. Soon after he performed for the Earthquake Benefit Concert, in NY, hosted by former President Bill Clinton.
In a subordinate role with his uncle Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, working in collaboration with Eddie Vedder, of the American rock band, Pearl Jam, Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan following the footstep of his Ustad Nusrat contributed to the soundtrack of the 1995 Hollywood film, Dead Man Walking. In 2002, he worked on the soundtrack of The Four Feathers in collaboration with the American composer of orchestral and film music, James Horner, the film was directed by Shekhar Kapoor. Also in 2002, Rahat guested with The Derek Trucks Band on the song Maki Madni for Trucks' album, Joyful Noise. In 2006, he gave Hollywood another huge hit as his vocals were featured on the soundtrack of Mel Gibson's Apocalypto.
Mel Gibson described Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan vocal contribution to the score in Apocalypto: He's a valuable asset to our soundtrack. His dulcet tones add emotion and drama, and we have a very narrow palette as far as orchestra. We do not have an orchestra so he is fulfilling a lot of the functions that would usually be supplied by the use of a full orchestra. Just all in one man; he's a one-man band.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan is the heart and soul of the world music community.
Clearly, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan has handed aver his music to him. Ustad Rahat fateh Ali Khan has had years of training and relentless practice, and this background serves him well. He has mastered the art form of classical vocal improvisations, sargam and taan runs and raags (scales). He can pull unrehearsed passages out of thin air with vehemence, burning through numerous octaves, and taking on mind-blowing melodious and musical phrases!
Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan performed at both Benefit concerts that took place in New York on Oct 27 and 29,2001 along with The Beastie Boys, The Strokes, Rival Schools, the B-52's, Cibo Matto, Moby, Michael Stipe and Bono, among sets by N*E*R*D, Mos Def, the Roots and the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.
After huge success in Hollywood he was invited by Bollywood actress-turned-filmmaker Pooja Bhat, daughter of legendry Producer & Director Mr.Mesh Bhat to India and introduced Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in Bollywood with her 2004 movie 'Paap',and here the journey from Hollywood to Bollywood started.
His consistent creations both in Pakistan and abroad have been gaining popularity. The maestro has been giving hit after hit in Bollywood and has rightfully been presented with numerious awards. To name some movies with his songs: Bodyguard, My Name is Khan, Ishqiya, Dabanng,Anjana Anjani and many more.
Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has given us every reason to be proud! He loves his country. He believes music can be used to project a positive image of the country abroad and to soften hardened hearts in the country. Whenever travelling abroad he projects a positive vision, of Pakistan.
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan participated actively with Pakistani community organizations worldwide in promoting Pakistani culture. To promote Pakistani culture in USA he did shows and concerts in New York, LA, Washington DC etc. In United Kingdom he has performed several times in the UK's largest Wembley Arena.
Ustad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan has been awarded numerous awards for his exceptional musical performances woldwide.
Biography by Shafiq Saddiqui